In Canada, the land of snow and ice, they know that part of the joy of participating in snow sports such as ice skating is being out in the elements. That’s why each year, the city of Edmonton, Alberta, opens a series of outdoor ice-skating rinks in parks around the city.
But Edmonton’s most iconic ice-skating destination isn’t a rink at all, but a literal trail of ice through the forest of one of the city’s most beloved parks. The Victoria Park IceWay covers just under 2 miles (3.2 km) of territory within Victoria Park — and the three-loop skating trail opened for the season at the beginning of January.
All you need to know about the special ice skating in Canada
The Victoria Park IceWay is situated just south of downtown Edmonton along the North Saskatchewan River. The trail may be in the heart of the city, but as soon as you lace up your skates and hit the ice, the buzz of Edmonton feels distant — especially at night. The Victoria Park IceWay winds languidly through the trees and, once darkness falls, the trail is illuminated by rainbow lights, enabling skaters to glide under the colourful glow until the park closes at 10 pm.
The ice trail is connected to the Victoria Park Skating Oval, a 400-meter Olympic-sized oval designed for speed skating. Skaters can make their way around the oval, before ducking onto the enchanting rainbow-lit ice trail. On certain evenings throughout the winter, hot chocolate will be served next to a roaring fire at the neighbouring Victoria Park Pavilion.
The Victoria Park IceWay is open every day from 10 am to 10 pm. It’s completely free and open to the public. There are no skate rentals, but you can rent adult skates from Totem Outdoor Outfitters (from USD 25 or INR 2,056 a day). The Victoria Park Pavilion acts as the IceWay’s warming area and is outfitted with bathrooms, lockers, a changing area, and views of the Victoria Park Skating Oval. There is also a covered picnic site with tables, wood camp stoves, and a fire pit.
Parking for the IceWay is available at the Victoria Park main parking lot, Victoria Park east lot, and at the Victoria Golf Course.
Edmonton is also home to several other skate facilities, including those at public parks around the city. Castle Downs Park, City Hall Plaza, Hawrelak Park, Jackie Parker, Meadows Community Recreation Centre, and Rundle Park all have skating surfaces, with Rundell Park boasting a second (albeit shorter) ice trail: the Rundle Park IceWay. Rundle Park is just up the river from Victoria Park and includes around a mile (1.6 km) of the trail near an outdoor hockey pond and two skating rinks.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: Courtesy of Explore EdmontonCourtesy of Explore Edmonton